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Breathe easier Weld County!

Posted on 08/09/2019

By Weld County Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer

Since 2006, air emissions in Weld County have been reduced by a whopping 20 percent! In 2006, the tower located in Greeley read 82 ppb (parts per billion). But by 2019, that number dropped dramatically to 65 ppb - well below the standard of 70 ppb set by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015.

Amazingly, that reduction in emissions happened during a time period when the population in the county grew by almost 100,000 people and the number of oil and gas wells in the county increased from approximately 15,000 to over 21,000 active wells.

This means that while large portions of the county are still in a non-attainment area, and we still have the emissions program for our vehicles, you can feel at ease while taking a deep breath. The air in Weld County is clean.

Although many pollution control programs are in place, there’s always more we can do. It is of vital importance to be in compliance with the EPA standard to protect the health of our citizens and communities.

Falling short is not an option.

Our health matters as does our environment, economy and quality of life! And we all need to do our part to focus on reducing those emissions we can control.

If each of us takes small actions, our collective impact will be further improved air quality for our families, neighbors and visitors.
Something as simple as skipping just two car trips a week helps make a difference. So catch a ride with a friend or co-worker to work or combine errands such as buying groceries, picking up that prescription, and visiting your mom on your way home from work.

You can also make a difference by mowing your lawn or refueling your car in the evening (and be sure to not overfill), using electric lawn and garden equipment and keeping your vehicles well-maintained. For more ideas go to
Doing these things will literally help you breathe easier at night.

In Weld County, we hold a special regard for clean air and wide-open spaces, hard and productive work, respect for the land, and government that doesn’t unnecessarily get in the way or hinder those values.

Make no mistake, the industries in our county, including oil and gas, are following the rules imposed by the Air Quality Control Commission. Plus, a lot of the oil and gas operators go over and above the requirements to ensure they are being a good neighbor and doing what they can to further reduce air emissions, such as using electric motors and driving low-emission vehicles powered by natural gas.

Me too! For years, I’ve driven a low-emission car powered by natural gas, and I’m in the process of switching all my lawn and garden equipment to electric as well. Plus, I mow at night after I get home from work – not only is it good for the air, but I find it helps me to unwind from a stressful day.

Some would have us believe that air emissions come from just one industry. But the reality is there are lots of items in our modern world that cause us to look at what emissions are being produce and resolve to find ways to reduce them.

Weld County is committed to protecting air quality just as is every community along the Front Range. It is in the best interest of Colorado for us all to be in attainment, and it is something we can all do, both individually and collectively, while protecting the economic prosperity of our residents and our businesses.